Paisley was at the helm when TUV peaked…

It would be true to say that Dr Paisley’s jibe at his successor record against Sinn Fein has gone down a little sourly in certain sections of the DUP.  But it does not, as David Gordon hints, mean that the DUP is about to be pipped at the post by Sinn Fein:

The Paisley article is presumably referring to the 2009 European Election result, when Sinn Fein topped the poll. That was not due to a surge in support for SF, but a fracturing of the unionist vote caused by the – apparently short-lived – rise of Jim Allister’s TUV.

But the TUV had polled strongly well before the European contest. The DUP lost a significant portion of its support to it in the Dromore council by-election in February 2008, leading to the UUP claiming the seat unexpectedly. And who was DUP leader at the time of this council by-election? None other than Ian Paisley. It was on his “watch”.

And what of the TUV now? Or of the UUP, who most likely face a contest between Tom Elliott and Basil McCrea? Where is the free ground in Unionism? And how do they get there?

Today’s piece in the News Letter is from Dawn Purvis calling for a pro Uniont project from the progressive left

  • Back seat driver.
    Is he enjoying being Margaret Thatcher to Robinson’s John Major?

  • I thought Purvis has already been leader of a Party which believed itself to be a pro-Union progressive left force…

  • maeglin

    Why has slugger become so bad at getting news quickly?

    MLK statement released and on BBC.

  • pinni

    The DUP, of course, did not lose the Dromore by-election, they merely were not successful in taking the seat from the UUP because of the protest vote against the St Andrew’s Agreement, etc.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but the European result, I reckon, was a lot bigger shock to the DUP than Dromore.

  • pinni

    Doh!, they lost the by-election, but not a seat. My bad!

    In any case, as we have witnessed, both results were but flashes in the pan. The TUV is all but extinguished, with maybe just a tiny hint of life remaining.

  • David Gordon

    The Dromore council by-election should have been a stroll for the DUP. It’s a multi-member electoral area and three of its five seats were in DUP hands.

  • Seymour Major

    David Gordon was right to put Paisley in his place. Paisley is actually incredibly vain.

    The other subject which you have posted about – Dawn Purvis, is much more interesting. There is a gap in the Northern Irish political market for somebody to represent unionists on the left. If she is successful at exploiting it, this could be one of the developments which eventually leads to normal politics in Northern Ireland.

  • Climyfisher

    @Seymour Major

    I don’t see why. “The left” contrary to what you’ll see on the BBC has been on a downward spiral since the Berlin Wall fell due to Hasselhoff. They’ll soon be viewed in the same way as neo-nazis, i.e. historical re-enactors.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This is hardly the case. It is well known in political circles that Paisley’s leadership was largely symbolic in the period following the GFA. It is also widely suspected that Robinson would have preferred to have participated in the talks. I think that was Paisley’s last real leadership decision. So I had a good old laugh at Paisley’s claim that he made all those decisions by himself (although one might argue that his willingness to delegate most of the running of the party to Robinson is in itself a leadership decision ..)

    The success of the modern DUP – the slick presentation, the policies, the political path – is really all down to Robinson. It’s almost Shakespearian what happened as soon as he formally took over the leadership.

    Insightful article by David who managed not to plug his book 😉

  • Comrade Stalin

    Isn’t vanity supposed to be a sin or something ?

  • Cushy Glenn

    and the Edwina Currie is…???